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An open letter to the European Summit and to the President of the European Council

Dear Donald Tusk and Representatives of the Member States in the European Council,

 As a continuation of your previous meeting relating to the refugee crisis, another meeting is supposed to be held in Brussels on 17 and 18 of this month to discuss ways to stop refugees from reaching Europe. Those refugees have escaped the war, they are the victims of proxy war by the big powers in their countries, and they are putting themselves at risk, by crossing minefields and dangerous seas. Most of them are children, women and older people. They leave their homes and work because they are forced to by war and by the mafia in their area. Europe will bear a big responsibility for the consequences if they put the fate of those refugees in the hands of a dictator like Erdogan and his brutal regime; this will be a disgraceful episode in the post Second World War history of Europe.

 Turkey is not a safe country even for its own citizens, political activists, civil activists and journalists, so how can the fate of these refugees be handed over to Turkey? Rather than protecting democracy and human rights, Erdogan’s regime every day comes closer to being an Islamic dictatorship. By appealing to Turkey to solve the refugee crisis, the EU is turning a blind eye to Turkey’s crime against Kurdish civilians and political activists, and to its help for the terrorist groups in Syria such as Al-Nusra and ISIL. Working with Turkey in such a way puts a big responsibility on the EU.

 Removing the borders between most EU member states was a great gain for Europeans, but building high fences with barbed wire and using Special Forces to close the borders does not benefit the EU. Spending billions of Euros on controlling the borders will not stop the refugee flow, it will be much better if the money is spent on helping those refugees to resettle and on improving their life.

 Refugees always participate actively in all social fields such as health and the economy, so it would be better to help them rather than working against them with the bloody Islamic regime in Turkey which helps terrorists in Syria.

 Most of the refugees are from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and African countries. They are victims of wars originally ignited by the imperialist powers like US and Russia (under the guise of fighting terrorism or the Syrian regime) for their own interests and to maintain their favoured balance of power. The regimes in those countries will not take responsibility for their citizens; in fact they are the source of insecurity for their own people. Sectarian fighting and ethnic conflict are the main reasons for the refugees to leave their homes and seek shelter in Europe for a better life.  

 If the European countries want to find real solutions for this crises, they will have to deal with the causes which created the refugee crises. Increasing the border measures will not solve the crises but will make it deeper. Forcibly returning people will not stop refugees from coming to Europe, but it will make smuggling networks wider, and the smugglers will still make the refugee use dangerous routes to reach Europe. Such policy in treating refugees so badly and playing with their fates and their rights will not be accepted by Human Rights groups and humanitarian movements even in your countries.

 As a part of our responsibility we – International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR) – are sending you this letter, asking you to treat refugees in a responsible manner, and not to act in a way that damages the prestige of the EU and its laws or humanitarian considerations.

 Therefore we are asking for:

An end to the policy of imperialist wars of division in the Middle East and North Africa; condemnation of the NATO, Russian and Chinese military interference in the area, and end to their support for groups affiliated to them, because it is their war which created instability and poverty leading to a mass refugee exodus.

  1. No forcing of the Turkish government to take back refugees; Turkish government to be put on trial for the mass killings of Kurdish people and their other crimes against political activists, and for their support of jihadi groups such as Al Nusra and Al Qaida.

  1. Opening of the borders for the refugees who are victims of war, in order to save them from death; equal allocation of refugees across Member States in line with Member States’ responsibilities, and protection of refugees from racism and from assault by fascists.

  1. Activation of the UN in the war-torn countries in order to help IDPs and refugees and to oblige the EU to recognise the refugees’ rights and provide them with assistance.

  1. Swift steps by the EU to enable civil society groups and refugee organizations to help the refugees with food, health care, clothes and shelter without discrimination by ethnic group or religion.

  1. Planned resettlement of the refugees in the receiving countries, with no social or economic discrimination against them.

  1. Support for social movements and organisations that work to establish secular systems in the Middle East and North African countries.

European countries must take equal responsibility for implementing these tasks.

Dashty Jamal,

Secretary of the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees

15.03.2016

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